Hostage Negotiator

Settle hostage situations.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$47,000 – $124,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Hostage Negotiators do?

A Hostage Negotiator engages hostage-takers in order to find out who they are, what they want, and what it will take to peacefully end their standoff with law enforcement. Because a hostage situation is an extraordinary circumstance — the worst-case scenario for Police Officers — it requires the extraordinary finesse of a Hostage Negotiator to reach a peaceful resolution.

Although Police Officers can physically intervene if necessary, doing so could provoke the hostage-taker to harm the hostages. Therefore, as a Hostage Negotiator, you’re the best option for simultaneously protecting the hostages and arresting the hostage-taker.

Under the direction of a Police Commanding Officer, you have several objectives. First is communicating with the hostage-taker to determine his or her identity, motivation, and demands. Second is developing a psychological profile of the suspect so Police Officers know who they’re dealing with — someone who’s depressed, for instance, versus someone who’s angry — and what negotiating tactics are likely to work best.

Third is prolonging the situation so Police Officers have more time to diffuse it. Fourth and last is making a deal: Although you probably won’t give the hostage-taker millions of dollars or a private jet, you can gradually chip away at his or her demands — offering food and water, for instance, in exchange for hostages and weapons — until the suspect is out of options.

At the end of the day, you’re like a Gymnast on the balance beam: To protect hostages, you walk a fine line between giving in and standing firm!

Should I be a Hostage Negotiator?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Leader: You're good at taking charge, giving directions, and inspiring other people.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.

  • How to become a Hostage Negotiator

    Most Hostage Negotiators have an Associate's degree or higher. Chart?chd=s:9dxpaa&chl=no+college+%2834%25%29|certificate+%2816%25%29|associate%27s+%2827%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2823%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,34,34
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